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How to Hold and Pour a Bottle of Wine

by Suzanne von Drachenfels

Hold a bottle of table wine in the palm of the hand, label facing the guest, so he or she may see the vintage year. To insulate chill, wrap a napkin around the neck. To avoid spills, bring the bottle to the glass and twist the bottle over the glass to halt the drops.

Pour table wine down the inside of a glass. Wine with a greater alcohol content is less free flowing or more viscous than wine with a low alcohol content, a condition apparent by shapes called tears or legs that appear on the inside wall of the glass. Arches, or "cathedral windows," are a visible sign of the reduced viscosity of heavier wine made by a high level of alcohol or residual sugar.

To maintain effervescence, pour champagne soon after the bottle is opened, and in almost a trickle so as not to overly stimulate the bubbles. Pour a small amount of champagne into a glass, let the froth settle for a moment, then fill the glass approximately three-quarters full.

Oxygen decreases the flavor of the wine. To inhibit aeration, wine is poured down the inside wall of a glass.

To avoid spills at the table, the bottle is brought to the glass. To prevent overstimulation of bubbles, a small amount of sparkling wine is poured into the glass.

The froth is allowed to settle before the glass is filled.

From the book, The Art of the Table: A Complete Guide to Table Setting, Table Manners, and Tableware by Suzanne von Drachenfels (Published by Simon and Schuster, November 2000; $40.00US/$59.00CAN; 0-684-84732-9) Copyright © 2000 Suzanne von Drachenfels

Author Suzanne von Drachenfels's passion for table things led her to a career as Tabletop Consultant to Fitz & Floyd, a maker of fine dinnerware that has been used in the West Wing of the White House. As an expert on the table, she has traveled extensively to conduct seminars and appeared on local television morning shows throughout the United States. She lives on the Monterey Peninsula in California, where she and her late husband, Baron Alexei von Drachenfels, have lived for many years.

For more information, please visit www.tabletalk.org

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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